ACMP Guide to Playing Levels

ACMP members determine their own playing level, which appears as part of each member’s profile and directory listing. These general grading categories enable players of similar skill levels to find each other. Use the following descriptions to determine your playing level. Distinctions of plus or minus may be useful for greater precision. Keep in mind that you can always revise your level as you improve and acquire more chamber music experience, or if lack of practice time affects your playing.


  • Skills: I can read music and have basic technical skills. I am starting to explore chamber music repertoire. I can sight-read simple pieces slowly.
  • Challenges: Often I must slow down in faster or more technical passages. Sometimes I get “tangled” in my own part.
  • Goals: To play with fewer stops, listen more to the group, and learn to lead.


  • Skills: I play with a decent tone. I am comfortable at moderate tempi. I am peripherally aware of other parts. I can sight-read at a moderate tempo but slow down the hard sections.
  • Challenges: I need to slow down in hard sections. I tend to get absorbed in my own part.
  • Goals: To listen more to others, improve leading ability, and develop the technique for complex passages.


  • Skills: I play with a pleasant tone. I can get back in when lost. I can sight-read near concert tempo, except in difficult technical passages. I am aware of other parts and try to match them.
  • Challenges: The hardest passages sound messy if I take them too fast. My phrasing is sometimes choppy.
  • Goals: To play with more nuance, match my articulation with the group’s, and improve my tone and phrasing


  • Skills: I play with a beautiful tone. I can play quickly and cleanly in difficult keys and with key/tempo changes. I am a strong leader. I can sight-read all passages cleanly at concert tempo (except pianists). I have keen awareness of other parts and know exactly how they fit.
  • Challenges: I want to develop a cohesive group sound and wider range in tone color. I need to fine-tune my intonation.
  • Goals: To convey a convincing interpretation, expand my arsenal of tone colors, and refine attention to detail


  • Skills: I am conservatory trained. I play with a finely nuanced tone. I can play most difficult passages with finesse at performance tempo. I use high-level technique. I can sight-read all passages cleanly at concert tempo, with phrasing. I could likely play all others’ parts if asked.
  • Challenges: I am out of the habit of playing for enjoyment. I am self-critical.
  • Goals: To play more for enjoyment, inspire others, and coach chamber music